DePaul athletics director Jean Lenti Ponsetto has signed a five-year contract extension that will run through the 2016-17 academic year, university officials announced Tuesday.
Ponsetto is in her 38th year as a member of the DePaul athletics family as a student-athlete, coach and administrator.
"Jean Lenti Ponsetto is among the most respected athletics directors in the United States," said DePaul President Fr. Dennis H. Holtschneider. "The NCAA, the Big East and other athletic conferences turn to her constantly for advice and counsel."
Ponsetto moved into her current position on July 1, 2002. Improvements in fundraising, facilities, student-athlete welfare, and postseason participation by Blue Demon teams have grown under her watch.
Over the last eight years, Ponsetto led fundraising efforts amounting to more than $13 million, along with the creation of more than 25 endowed scholarships. Both of those figures represent the highest total of any athletics director in DePaul history. Among the many gifts during her tenure is the largest in DePaul athletics history to rename McGrath-Phillips Arena.
Ponsetto initiated and provided leadership for the Sullivan-McGrath Athletics Capital Campaign, which yielded the funding resources for the renovation of Wish Soccer Field, the creation of the Cacciatore Softball Stadium and renovation of the Cherry Family Indoor Track at the Ray Meyer Fitness and Recreation Center. She also spearheaded partnerships for DePaul's track and golf programs and secured facilities for training and competition at Lane Stadium and Ruffled Feathers Golf Club.
During her 10 years at the helm of the department, 14 of the 15 Blue Demon athletic programs have represented the school in NCAA championships including 10 straight NCAA appearances by the women's basketball team with two Sweet Sixteen appearances, two trips to the Women's College World Series for the softball program, four men's basketball postseason appearances in the NCAA and NIT, men's soccer's initial trip to the NCAA Tournament after winning the BIG EAST Conference regular season title, women's soccer's first NCAA appearance after winning a conference championship in 2003, and women's tennis earning its first berth to the NCAA Championship in 2010.
Ponsetto currently serves on NACDA's Executive Committee. In the spring of 2009, she was named Under Armour AD of the Year for the NCAA Division I Central Region. For the second time in her career, Ponsetto was presented NACWAA's Administrator of the Year Award in 2003 and was the organization's president in 2005-06. Most recently, she added duties as president of the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association (D1-AAA ADA) for 2009-10. Prior to being named president, she was the second vice president for the I-AAA Athletics Directors Association. She also chairs the Collegiate Women's Sports Award's Board of Directors which selects the top female athlete in the country each year and chairs the WBCA's State Farm Wade Trophy Committee which selects the top collegiate women's basketball player each year. She received the Trailblazer Award by the NACWAA.